Campus Race to Zero Waste begins!

The friendly, nationwide competition between universities is back! Campus Race to Zero Waste (CR2ZW) is taking place from January 29 until March 25. Minimize waste on campus, increase recycling, and participate in the many events these upcoming eight weeks to put Rochester in the leaderboard.

How it works

Each participating school is required to collect its data and report on a weekly basis as they compete in these categories:

  • Diversion—Awards campuses with the highest waste diversion rate (diversion rate meaning the percentage total weight of recyclables “rescued” from our waste and food organics diverted from total waste generated)
  • Zero Waste—This optional category, awards campuses with the lowest waste generation per 1,000 square feet of useable space and requires a waste audit
  • Food Organics—Awards campuses with the most activities in place to minimize food waste as well as finding ways to reduce waste (donations, used for biofuels, etc.)
  • Per Capita Recycling—Awards campuses with the largest combined amount of recyclables on a per person basis

This year, Facilities Team Green has planned a myriad of activities that will take place during the eight weeks. Beginning with the Instagram trivia contest, which will occur between January 30 and March 27, on the @ursustainable Instagram page. Help spread the word by sharing the CR2ZW poster with the full line-up of events.

Kick-Off Event

The campaign began with a Kick-off event on February 2, where students gathered to learn more about CR2ZW (see pictures of the event). There were giveaways, green student groups tabling, and Grassroots’ Clothing Exchange program.

Tunnel Painting

On February 11, from 4-7 p.m., at the painted tunnels connecting Morey and Dewey, join Facilities and Dining Team Green in painting the tunnels to spread environmental awareness.

Caught Green Handed Campaign

Between February 27 and March 3, you could get rewarded with an eco-friendly prize for being green! Team members will be on the lookout for people who are  recycling, reusing, or promoting any other sustainable act (a.k.a. catch them  “green-handed”)

Film Screening

As the competition comes to a close, UR Cinema will be screening Love Thy Nature in Hoyt Auditorium. View this film and find your connection to the natural beauty of this planet on Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m.

How to boost our score

As individuals, doing our part every day, even after CR2ZW, no matter how small makes a difference. Here are different ways to help accomplish these goals. Find ways to reduce waste generation; to do this, find ways to reuse items such as donating any clothes that you are no longer going to use. Did you know that post-consumer compost collection is available at Connections Cafe? Use this bin to help us in the organics category. Ditch single-use plastics (like Starbucks cups) and other non-recyclable material and substitute them with recyclable materials. Last, but certainly not least, be sure to recycle all acceptable items, such as paper, cardboard, metal cans, plastic bottles, jars and tubs. Remember that every day is a race to zero waste!


Written by Lugardo Marroquin ‘24